My worst Gen Con moment ended up turning into one of my best.
A few Gen Con's back, I was there for the day with two of my friends. We were walking around, waiting for the dealer room to open, when I got on the escalator. Well I stumbled while wearing open-toed sandals and tore the toenail on my big toe right off the nail bed. I'm standing there in a daze with blood all over my foot and when it dawns on me what just happened my social anxiety goes off the charts. After a quick triage in the bathroom with some paper towels, I limp down to the Paramedics station. The Paramedics were pretty cool. They bandaged me up, gave me some ibuprofen and said that they could either take me to the hospital or I could go home and see my own doctor, but either way, all anyone could do for me is give me a tetanus shot while I waited for the toenail to grow back. Not wanting to ruin the con experience for my friends (any more than I already had) and since we came to Indy in my car, I declined the ambulance trip and said I'd see my doctor when I got back to Michigan.
So, an hour later, I'm limping around the dealer room, the ibuprofen is only dulling the pain slightly, and I'm standing at a booth getting more and more depressed. The moment the thought 'why do things like this always happen to me' crossed my mind, I turned to my right and found myself face to face with a guy in a wheelchair with no legs from the knees down. For the rest of that day, the four hour drive back home, and the better part of a year that it took for that toenail to grow back, that little accident with the escalator didn't bother me one bit. Seeing that young man tooling around in his wheelchair while all I needed was a bandage and a tetanus shot was one of the greatest life lessons I've ever experienced.
Perspective on life is perhaps the greatest thing I've ever got at the Gen Con dealer room. :)
I've been watching this thread for awhile, trying to think of something that I could contribute. Reading this made me think of my own story. It's more of an Indy story than a Gen Con story.
My husband and I have missed only one Gen Con since our first, in 2005. That was 2006, the year I started law school. 2009, the year I graduated and took the Bar, was supposed to be epic. I had signed up for a bunch of events I was super excited about, including getting a Puffing Billy ribbon, and I was planning to spend a good portion of the weekend playing Ticket to Ride. Alas, it was not to be. The day before we were supposed to leave for Gen Con, I threw my back out. At that point in my life, this was something that happened to me every year or two, and usually laid me up for a couple of days (apparently it was due to deconditioning in my case, because I started taking better care of myself, and I haven't had a similar episode in years). So I certainly wasn't going to let a little pain keep me from my vacation. I decided to go and hope the pain would resolve with relaxation. Well, apparently the car ride (about four hours from Michigan) aggravated my back, because by the time we got to the hotel, I was in so much pain I couldn't even help unload the car. I wound up only going to the convention for two of the days, and the days I was there, I was at times almost crawling from the board game hall to the restroom. I played some games of Ticket to Ride, but I would lie on my back in a corner of the hall in between rounds. On one of the days I made it in, my husband and I were headed to one of the restaurants within a couple blocks for dinner. As I was hobbling along, excruciatingly slowly, one of the homeless men on the corner called out, "That's it, sweetie! You just take all the time you need. It'll still be there." My husband and I laugh about it now, but at the time, that little bit of encouragement, from a VERY unexpected place, really meant something to me.
The pain resolved a day or so after we got back. I know I'm one of the lucky ones, not to be dealing with chronic pain. But that year definitely sticks with me as one of my more surreal Gen Con experiences.